Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.
I love architecture with a passion because you can create spaces for people to use and be a part of; it’s more than just designing walls and ceilings, it’s molding shapes and lines to be used, occupied, interplayed, and reinterpreted by people. For instance, you can transform a simple utilitarian ascending tool such as a staircase into a social space used in a multitude of ways by incorporating large landings, green pockets, elongated risers, and so on. In this article, I’d like to offer some examples of the power of architecture, share some words of Abdu’l-Baha, and ponder how architecture can evoke the mystical. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
I was born into a Baha’i family in the Philippines, but grew up in the middle of the hot and humid country of Cambodia. I live in Siem Reap where there is little Baha’i activity and only a few Baha’i families and individuals. And if there is a Baha’i activity, it takes place in my house, whether it be a Nineteen Day Feast, Baha’i Holy Days like Ayyam-i-Ha, core activities or Local Spiritual Assembly meetings.
Growing up, I experienced many memorable celebrations and meaningful discussions around the Baha’i Faith; yet it wasn’t the same outside my house. Outside was a mostly Buddhist world, where it seemed as if there wasn’t any trace of the Baha’i Faith to be seen. I knew there were other Baha’is around the world, but I didn’t have access to the internet to know there were around seven million of us, at that time. I’ve seen big communities in my countries of origin (Malaysia and Philippines), but since there weren’t any other Baha’is around my age in Cambodia, I felt isolated. Continue reading
Nora Crossley (1893-1977). Photo courtesy of George Ronald.
As a young girl, Nora was admired for her beautiful hair. It was a rich auburn color and so long that it almost reached as far as the hem of her dress. Every night and every morning, Nora’s mother would brush it for an hour until it shone like gold. Artists travelled from across the North of England to paint Nora’s portrait. Into adulthood, she considered her hair her only redeeming feature.
Nora Crossley was born in Old Trafford, Manchester in 1893 into a wealthy family. But her childhood was not a happy one and her adulthood was equally severely difficult. After the First World War, she married her penniless childhood sweetheart against her separated parents’ wishes. War had irrevocably changed her husband. He was later diagnosed as schizophrenic, but at that point his erratic behaviour was beyond any explanation. He refused to return to work, preferring to play the organ and repair hymn books for the church, but never accepting any payment. So began more than 50 years of severe tests at home for Nora, who soon became a mother to two sons. Continue reading
Ellsworth Blackwell (August 1, 1902 – April 17, 1978). Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community. Source: Baha'i World, Vol. 17.
Ellsworth Blackwell (1902 – 1978) was an African-American Baha’i who was dedicated to sharing the principles of the Baha’i Faith in America, Haiti, Madagascar, and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In this article I would like to share a challenge he faced when confronted with racism within the Baha’i community, and how his commitment to justice, combined with wholehearted co-operation with the governing or administrative bodies of the Baha’i Faith, allowed this instance of prejudice to be resolved while maintaining a unified spirit.
Ellsworth became a Baha’i in 1934, and in 1937 he decided to serve at the Wilmette House of Worship (the Temple was not entirely completed until the 1950s, but it was open to visitors and Baha’is volunteered as tour guides). He had the capacity to be a tour guide, but was informed that it was “policy” that African-Americans could not be tour guides. This example of discrimination was of course not in keeping with the Baha’i teachings on the elimination of prejudice. This quotation from Abdu’l-Baha amply elucidates the Baha’i view:
… as to religious, racial, national and political bias: all these prejudices strike at the very root of human life; one and all they beget bloodshed, and the ruination of the world.
The 2019 European Baha’i Choral Festival was held from May 29 – June 2 at the Baha’i House of Worship in Langenhain, Germany. At this, the second European Baha’i Choral Festival to date, over a hundred participants came together to sing, share music with others and to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe. Continue reading
As celebrations in honour of the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, unfolded around the planet special events held at the Baha’i Houses of Worship were live-streamed from the official website for the Bicentenary, bicentenary.bahai.org. The majority of these events were recorded and can now be watched at any time on the Baha’i World Centre’s YouTube channel and we definitely encourage you to take a journey around the world by watching them! Continue reading
The official website of the bicentenary celebrations of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, has just added a broadcast schedule of events occurring at many Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world.
The schedule, which can be seen in full here, includes a useful indicator of how many hours remain until the broadcast from a specific House of Worship. These celebrations, occurring at Houses of Worship, or Temples, in India, Australia, Samoa, Panama, Cambodia, the United States, Germany, Uganda, Colombia and Chile will be live streamed directly from the bicentenary website: bicentenary.bahai.org Continue reading
Participants of the 2017 European Baha'i Choral Festival gather outside the European Baha'i House of Worship in Germany. (Photo: Zarrin Munusamy)
In a few weeks (May 29-June 2), participants from across Europe will come together at the European Baha’i House of Worship in Germany, to join voices and take part in the European Baha’i Choral Festival! This is the second year the event is taking place, and besides the singing and sharing of glorious music with others, the event aims to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe.
I caught up with the festival’s musical director, Ameli Dziemba, to find out more about the event and to hear about her experiences: Continue reading
I grew up in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and it holds a special place in my heart. I was especially excited when the design of its Baha’i House of Worship was revealed several months ago, and you can read a news story all about the design here.
This House of Worship will be one of two national Baha’i Houses of Worship (also often referred to as temples) to be constructed in the world in the coming years, signifying a new milestone for the Baha’i world community.
Henry Lape (left) and Saeed Granfar, Architects of the National Baha’i House of Worship of Papua New Guinea.
It’s incredible to see the uniqueness of the Houses of Worship around the world, and Papua New Guinea’s temple is no exception: it is unlike all the others, yet it is faithful to its surroundings.
Henry Lape and Saeed Granfar are the collaborating architects behind the temple’s stunning design, and I was so excited when these two dear friends agreed to chat with us about the temple. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading
Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
The Baha’i House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia has recently opened its doors to all, and in this spirit of celebration, we wanted to share some of the posts and resources relating to this unique edifice. We’ve listed things to read, watch, listen to, and study, so in case you missed them, here are a number of materials about this newly dedicated Baha’i temple: Continue reading